So, I am doing the Couch to 5K program, again, from the beginning. I’m currently on Week 3, Day 2. At first, each run was TORTURE as my mind was on this constant loop of, “why did you ever stop running?” “why are you running?” “when is this minute run going to be over?” “why is a minute so f-ing long?” etc, etc. My mind was on a constant “bash CC” loop, and it was really pretty freaking awful. Fortunately, something shifted this week, MENTALLY, and I am now able to look at each completed run segment as a TINY VICTORY, and the experience is actually almost enjoyable (it is still running, so let’s not get too crazy here …)
As you all have probably deduced, I read a lot of self-help books, listen to a lot of podcasts, and read a lot of other “lifestyle” blogs. I cannot remember where I first read or heard the concept that we can boost our mood and outlook on our lives by taking little actions and having little successes. These little “wins” add up to a big feeling of accomplishment, and those feelings of accomplishment will improve our mood.
This has been true for me big time. The more ACTION and the less thinking, the better my mood gets. It is the power of the SMALL WIN.
Last year, I embraced this concept in lots of different ways. First, with the running. I completed the Couch to 5K program last year and ran several 5Ks. With each small win or tiny victory, I felt stronger and compelled to continue. I also used that philosophy with this blog – with each blog post, I have accomplished something and am inspired to do more. These small wins/tiny victories give me HOPE that I can take steps to change myself and those little steps add up!
The Couch to 5K program is the perfect example of how small wins/tiny victories can add up quickly. Each week, the program increases your run time and decreases your walk time. The first week you run 1 minute, and walk 1, run 1, walk 1, repeat. Each week, the program changes. This week, for instance, I am running increments of 2 1/2 minutes at a time, which may seem small to you, but let me tell you, last week running 1 1/2 minute felt like torture. Jump to this week, where 2 1/2 minutes seems totally do-able! Progress! A tiny victory!
At the end of 8 weeks, you will be ready to run a 5K. I completed this program last year, and it works. I ran several 5Ks last year. But then I got “sick of running” and decided to “take a break,” and whenever I take a break from anything, I can easily take that break to the extreme of quitting. And that’s what I did with running. I just stopped. And now I am in a position of starting over, and that is okay. This week that is okay, and that is thanks to a MENTAL SHIFT.
The first week of the Couch to 5K program I mentally beat myself up for the entire 30 minute “work out” — telling myself that I was a loser because now every step was painful, and after all hadn’t I been running 5Ks last year??, etc., etc. And I have run enough in the past to know that the most important thing about getting through a run is our MIND SET. And my mind-set was working against me for sure. Luckily, I believe in the power of the tiny victory, so I just kept pushing through, and this week, the mind-set shifted. As I knew it would. As it always does. That is the beauty of tiny victories. Each day, brings progress. Each win, gives satisfaction. Progress + satisfaction = confidence. And confidence is how we keep striving with hope for the future!
Hey, if I can climb a rope wall in the pouring rain (see picture above from “Dirty Girl” last year), then surely I can train for and run another 5K this year. Right? Of course!
This morning on Facebook, I saw a cool link for a program called #giveit100, and it has a similar feel to this tiny victory concept. Karen, who started the program, wanted to learn to dance, and decided to practice dancing every day for 100 days (actually for an entire year!), and see what happened. As she says, “This isn’t a story about dancing, though. It’s about having a dream and not knowing how to get there – but starting anyway.” EVERYONE STARTS AS A BEGINNER!
Here is what happened with Karen’s dancing idea:
I love that she says “everyone starts as a beginner.” The Buddhists have a phrase called “beginners mind,” which basically means keeping an attitude of openness and considering yourself a beginner with everything you do, and that seems like the same principle Karen is embracing, and the one that I am trying to adopt with my TINY VICTORIES project.
And Karen’s #giveit100 idea has caught on. There are now lots of people participating in their own #giveit100 project. I especially liked this video of a woman who went to the gym every day for 100 days to try to change her body, and the way she felt about her body. Awesome!
So, what can you do in 100 days? What could you achieve with a beginner’s mind? What small wins / tiny victories are in your future? I would love to hear about them. Share your stories in the comments below!